What if: The danger of a dichotomy

Yesterday, I saw a friend sharing a Facebook post that seems to make a lot of sense:
What if...
What if the body of Christ, with all its disagreements and all its denominations, put aside their differences and just loved and worshiped Jesus together? What if Catholics and Protestants prayed together rather than fighting over theology? What if we rallied around HIS name and not a church name? What if we were loyal to Him and not to a man-made, theological point of view? What if we came together and became the Family we were created to be? What if we were truly unified and become one just as He and His Father are one like Jesus prayed?
Just..........what if???
However, on further reflection, I realised that the thought itself is incomplete, too simplistic and dichotomise issues too much without realising the reality of things.

The author displayed an issue with fighting over theology. He advocates an approach where the different groups of Christ believers put aside their differences and come together and seek God together. This is oversimplifying an issue. Firstly, he is assuming that Christians all over the world are not doing so. But this is not true. Ecumenical movements are happening and we are seeing Christians from different traditions coming together in unity to pray and worship God, although not in the regular church service (for very good reasons which I will elaborate further). Take for example, Singaporeans last year witnessed Christians coming together for the Jubilee Day of Prayer to pray for the nation in unison. In my previous workplace, I was also able to gather a group of Christians, which included Roman Catholics in the midst, to pray on a weekly basis. This is happening, and to say that "what if" is really ignoring the events.

This brings me to the next point. The fact that this statement is made reflects a certain view of what Christians should do. I am suspecting that this author refers to beyond the occasional ecumenical meetings and refers more to regular ecumenical meetings akin to our regular church services. Is that really going to work? It is often more than that. We have to realise that whatever ways that we seek God in worship, either during church services, masses or in our private devotions, it reflects our theology, a point that this author brought up. Is it going to be that simple, in that case to put aside our theology? Our respective church traditions are after all based on what we believed about God and how we believe God can be honored and glorified in our community. This represents the greatest hurdle to this "what if". In fact, this view itself reflects a theology of its own. And one would be deceiving himself if he really thinks that we can just 'gather around Jesus' and 'put aside our theology'. In fact, the disagreements, in my opinion, represents people's inner most desire to glorify God in the best way possible. How can we then just tell them to put aside their theology and demand that they take up our theology of just gathering around them? And by the way, this theology is 'man-made' too.

I really feel that this author sidestepped and simplified the matter a lot. At the heart of things, it is a object lesson for us to realise that it is never as simple as that. There are convictions involved here. As such I never believe that the solution is to put aside the theology, but to create a platform where we can come to a common understanding on each other's approach to our theology so that we can come together and worship God in unity, not in uniformity. 


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